RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
Bloc Party ("Month"), Pendulum, CSS, Shiny Toy Guns, MGMT, Franz Ferdinand, The Ting Tings (various), AC/DC (various), Offspring, The Killers, Airborne Toxic Event, Bigelf, Ladyhawke
"One Month Off" is my favorite track on the latest Bloc Party album (see live review below). It's cool to see the drum and bass band Pendulum break open, and they have other strong tracks on the album. Current airplay track "Jager Yoga" should have been the first CSS single. STG's "Ghost Town" is getting top requests at L.A.'s KROQ as is Franz Ferdinand's "Ulysses". It took awhile, but the highly deserving "Kids" by MGMT has finally emerged on a number of outlets. I'm not wild about the latest Killers direction overall, but I do like the first two singles. Bigelf are an L.A. hard rock band with a softer song and big hook, getting played on Indie 103.1. Ladyhawke from New Zealand is in the Eighties-oriented indie-dance mode, and she's got great hooks. Since many of you have asked, yes I like the new AC/DC album a lot. However, one listen to the G 'n R didn't do much for me and I haven't been back.
RAVE'S FAVES OF 2008
MY TOP-TIER ALBUMS OF 2008 IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Elbow "The Seldom Seen Kid"
Fleet Foxes "Fleet Foxes"
Foxboro Hot Tubs "Stop Drop and Roll"
MGMT "Orangluar Spectacular"
Pendulum "In Silico"
The Rumble Strips "Girls and Weather"
Skybombers "Take Me to Town"
Switches "Lay Down the Law"
The Ting Tings "We Started Nothing"
Vampire Weekend "Vampire Weekend"
Honorable mention goes to Liam Finn, The Fratellis and Shiny Toy Guns. The above albums were close enough for me that ranking was more difficult than it was in recent years. As a long-time fan of Elbow, it was gratifying to see them win this year's prestigious Mercury Prize in the U.K. ProCon from Toronto blend dance and rock in a very cool way. The Rumble Strips are working on their follow-up with hot producer Mark Ronson, who was recently quoted in "Rolling Stone" as saying that singer Charlie Waller has one of the best voices around. Skybombers and Switches were victimized by a tough-road for straight ahead guitar bands in 2008, but I feel they both have excellent long-term prospects. Expect Switches to be more computer-oriented upon their return.
MY ELEVEN FAVORITE AIRPLAY SONGS OF 2008
1) MGMT "Kids"
2) Switches "Drama Queen"
3) The Ting Tings "That's Not My Name"
4) The Rumble Strips "Girls and Boys In Love" (TV commercial)
5) The Cribs "I'm A Realist"
6) Foxboro Hot Tubs "Stop Drop and Roll"
7) Devo "Watch Us Work It" (TV commercial)
8) B-52s "Pump"
9) The Last Shadow Puppets "The Last of the Understatement"
10) Shiny Toy Guns "Ghost Town"
11) Pendulum "Propane Nightmare"
12) The Fratellis "Mistress Mabel"
The Last Shadow Puppets filled the Mayan in downtown L.A. and aced their show with the help of a 17-piece orchestra. They only played a couple of U.S. dates, so this show had an extra special aura to it. Ezra Furman and the Harpoons have gotten solid airplay on L.A.'s Indie 103.1. Their Roxy gig was filled with energy, and this young guy shows strong long-term potential. I went to see Friendly Fires at Spaceland based on the buzz surrounding this new U.K. dance/rock band. They exceeded expectations and blew away the sold-out crowd. The band play great, and singer Ed Macfarlane dances his ass off nonstop. Bloc Party are one of the best live bands out there, but their show at The Grove of Anaheim wasn't one of their best. There was so much boom in the room that even some of their most familiar songs were indistinguishable at first. As their recent album "Intimacy" isn't as strong for me, that brought the show down a bit as well.
As newer guitar bands have struggled, the main indie rock focus has been on highly-instrumentalized, more progressive bands as well as a newer folk-flavored artists. This developed during the Bush years. The other most-reviled, post World War 2 President was Nixon, and late Sixties/early Seventies versions on the same musical trends sprouted during his term. There were unpopular wars each time. Can there be a correlation or is it merely coincidence? Let me hear from you on this topic as well as anything else I write about... Thanks as always to Uncle Joe Benson for his friendship as well as his posting of this tipsheet on his fine site. Make sure you check the rest of it out if you haven't done so recently... I hope that the holiday season is treating you well and that '09 will be fine for you. Keep an eye out for a modified Rave's Raves website as well as some other exciting announcements. Until late February...